I rarely abstain from votes because I consider it part of my duty as a public official to make up my mind on issues brought before us for action. Last night was a personal record for abstentions, though, as I opted out of four items. In three of those cases the reason was simple: I don’t generally vote on items that stem from periods during which I wasn’t serving or present. Since I only joined the Council late on December 12, 2011, minutes from before then and amendments made to the City Manager’s contract based on a performance review I had no part in are outside my purview. But the fourth instance was pretty unusual, and worthy of a brief explanation.